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Literature / Cursed World

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Cursed World is an Urban Fantasy series by Aya McHugh starring Rei Scios, a semi-openly bisexual gamer girl on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday who discovers that she has powers of fire and shortly afterward finds herself in a life or death world of intrigue and secrets... Including some that are closer to home than she thinks.
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The first book, Initial Sparks, was published on Amazon on June 10th, 2020. Not related to the five book series of the same name by Stephanie Foxe.

Tropes

  • Arc Number: A lot of stuff in Initial Sparks is said to have happened "five years ago."
  • Alpha Bitch: Chloe Nichols, Rei's former best friend from five years ago, is presented as such. But in actuality, they had a fight when Rei admitted to having a crush on Chloe and Chloe's parents split them up and made Chloe hang out with a group of other alpha bitches who dominate her and she's been suffering under them for so long that she thinks that putdowns and bullying are normal expressions of friendship. She doesn't even realize that she and Rei aren't friends anymore.
  • Blood Knight: Verde gets a little... Into both fighting and training to get stronger.
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  • Bloody Murder: Midway through the story, a cop turns up dead of a mysterious stab wound. It's later clarified that he was stabbed to death from the inside with a shard of crystallized blood.
  • Elemental Powers: The bread and butter of Mancy and an application of magic. So far in the series, we see
    • Blow You Away: Verde becomes a moderately powerful wizard using wind magic after studying a book Ella gave her.
    • Casting a Shadow: Gamma is a Shadowmancer, able to create powerful constructs from a corporeal shadow or just engulf people and turn them the paste.
    • Extra Oredinary: Kestral is a Ferromancer, able to control iron... Even the molecular iron in people's blood, which can be done to painfully paralyze them or create a spike of their own crystalized blood to stab them from the inside.
    • Playing with Fire: The power possessed by Rei, which allows her to blast things with "cherry red" fire. Rei's mother, Aria, is able to use her own pyromancy to help heal minor cuts and bruises under the logic of applying a warm compress.
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    • The Power of Blood: In addition to the above-mentioned Bloody Murder, Ella is revealed as a Sanguimancer during the climax. In addition to being able to tell fortunes by reading people's blood with contact, Ella can drink blood to vastly enhance her physical attributes and senses, though as it also causes extreme bloodthirst she loathes to do it.
  • Expy: Verde as a short person who keeps training even when badly injured, enjoys the rush of a fight, and constantly wants to be stronger brings Vegeta to mind.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: There's a difference between "Mancy" and "Magic." While both are supernatural, Mancy is instinctual and inherent while magic is learned and requires the application of skill. Mancy comes from the heart while Magic is a more intellectual pursuit. You can just do mancy if you have the talent but magic requires pre-drawn circles and other such things.
  • Mega-Corp: ONY makes everything and more or less runs the government. They're even making Artificial Humans and training super soldiers, and President Yamata is also Lord Orochi, the big bad.
  • Murder by Cremation: Rei is forced to kill Kestral in the climax by striking him with a blast of fire hot enough to completly destroy his entire body, including his scrap-metal prosthetic arm, in an instant.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Gamma is introduced thi way, as a mysterious set of eyes watching Rei and co without their knowledge in the last paragraph of chapter 2 of Initial Sparks.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Orochi Yamata
  • Orochi: Alluded to with the name of the big bad, Lord Orochi.
  • Our Monsters Are Different: Golems. They're called puppets. We see two, metallic puppets that resemble robots and "Mnemonic Puppets" that are red crystal skeletons that use blood to grow flesh and take on the appearance and mannerism of people from the memories of those whose blood they've absorbed.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Ella is a pale, regal girl, noted early on to not get on well with sunlight, who becomes a physical powerhouse when she drinks blood but develops a potent thirst for blood by doing so.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Verde is a tiny blonde and, per the author's own statements, is medically a little person. This does not stop her from referring to herself as "the brawn" in her relationship with Rei. or from becoming a powerful wizard.
  • Romantic False Lead: Hunky Transfer Student Kestral is crushed on by Rei, even going on a date with her... But he's actually an emotionally dead Super Soldier sent there to capture her and/or kill her and bring her body back to ONY.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rei is a gamer, and her favorite game is a fighter called Knights of The Stars, which as described is a clear reference to Knights of the Zodiac, the English dub of Saint Seiya.
    • Rei twice in Initial Sparks gives someone a flaming uppercut that lifts her into the air and sends the opponent flying, a clear reference to the Shoryuken from Street Fighter.
    • However, Rei's home of Laketown is 'not' an intentional reference to The Hobbit, per the author in a forum thread on Giant in the Playground.
    • A member of the Alpha Bitch posse that Chloe hangs out with is named Heather
  • The Skeptic: Verde initially doubts the existence of the supernatural, at least until she encounters hard proof of it.
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